Dear Abby: “Harold” and I have been married for more than 20 years and have three children ranging in age from teen to toddler. We are both college graduates and held middle-management jobs until recently.
Two years ago, Harold was offered a temporary job in an exotic location in another country. We jumped at the chance. I can’t work due to the regulations here, but the money is good.
Now that I’m not working, Harold suddenly believes he has the right to tell me what to do, how to manage daily activities, how to care for the children, etc. When we explore our host country, he loses his temper if I take a photo of something he has already photographed.
I am instructed how to do the laundry, wash dishes, clean the stove, on and on.
How do I deal with this new controlling behavior? If I address it when it happens, he becomes nasty. I have tried discussing his overall change in attitude, but he says I am “imagining” it. If I ignore his “suggestions,” it results in angry outbursts.
I don’t know how to get through to him that I’m the same competent individual I was before we made this change and that I do not need micromanaging. Any advice is welcome.
Just about had it
Your husband may be stressed in his new job and no longer feel in control, which is why he is attempting to control you. Or, because he is now the sole wage earner, he may feel “entitled” to dictate your every move. If you are now living in a male-dominated culture where women have no rights, his thinking may be influenced by the men around him.
If marriage counseling is available, I urge you to get some. If that’s not possible, perhaps a long vacation for you and the children with your family would defuse the tension.